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Joey The Tooth’s Top 20 Redraft Defensive Back Rankings

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Redraft season is here! It is time for some rankings, so here are my top 25 redraft defensive backs.


When we talk about defensive backs, the top 10 are almost always the same familiar names, with a few others breaking into the upper echelon. It is the value that comes after that where you can make bank. The guys in the top 10 can potentially be league winners. If you miss out on the top 10 or choose to wait on the position, the top 11-20 can be drafted rather late. You can check out the IDPGUYS consensus rankings, but here are my top 25 redraft defensive back rankings.

Top 20 Defensive Backs

1. Jamal Adams – Seattle Seahawks

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I know there is a lot of love for Budda Baker in the IDP community, but my man Jamal Adams has to take the cake at number one. His usage by the Seahawks was unbelievable and his IDP numbers were off the chart. In only 12 games in 2020, he had 83  tackles, 11 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, and 14 QB hits; 9.5 sacks and 14 QB hits from a safety is unreal. Add in the fact that he averaged almost seven tackles per game, and no other safety is touching his per-game numbers.

2. Budda Baker – Arizona Cardinals

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Last year I called a bit of a regression from his 147 tackle season, which he did. What I failed to account for was the fact that he became more of a playmaker. He still had a phenomenal tackling season dropping 118 tackles — his third straight season over 100 tackles.

Baker also set a career-high in interceptions and tied a career-high in sacks. He is an elite defensive back. While he is in the league, he will likely be near the top of my redraft defensive back rankings.

3. Derwin James – Los Angeles Chargers

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Am I ready to get bit in the butt by this again? You know I am! Derwin James is an elite player that had some unfortunate injuries early in his career. Were those injuries career-threatening…no. He is still elite talent and is the definition of positionless football.

The guy can literally line up all over the place and is probably the best at covering tight ends in the NFL. Add that to the stat line he put up his rookie year, and a repeat near the top can easily be achieved.

4. Jessie Bates III – Cincinnati Bengals

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Jessie Bates is one of the less talked about safeties in IDP, one that should garner much more attention. Bates has been unbelievable in his three NFL seasons where he has racked up 320 tackles, 31 passes defended, and 9 interceptions. He is as good in run support as he is in coverage.

Bates’ 2020 season may have been his best yet with 109 tackles, 15 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. He is as consistent as they come, and I expect much of the same in 2021 putting him in the top five of my redraft defensive back rankings.

5. Jordan Poyer – Buffalo Bills

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Since joining the Bills, Jordan Poyer has been one of the best all-around safeties in all of football. Over the past four seasons, Poyer has averaged 106 tackles, 5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 7 passes defended, and 3 interceptions per season. Those are elite-level numbers for a safety.

Poyer led the Bills in tackles last season with 124 and was second in 2019 by only eight tackles. Poyer has a great opportunity to lead the team in tackles again and teams will likely be playing catch-up against the high-powered Bills’ offense, forcing them to take chances and for Poyer to capitalize.

6. Jeremy Chinn – Carolina Panthers

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Jeremy Chinn burst onto the scene as a rookie, lighting up the stat sheet with 117 tackles, 2 for a loss, 1 sack, 5 passes defended, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 touchdowns. He was a hybrid on the Panthers’ defense, playing both safety and linebacker for the team, rotating all over the defense.

The Panthers did not add much to either position, which means that Chinn’s role should remain similar to how it was in 2020. I expect big numbers out of Chinn once again.

7. John Johnson III – Cleveland Browns

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It feels dirty having John Johnson down this low in my redraft defensive back rankings. His talent level is just as high as the players mentioned above, the only thing is he is in a new role. Now in that role, he could put up very similar numbers to previous years, though it has yet to be seen.

Even still, Johnson averaged 6.5 tackles per game and 10 passes defended per season with the Rams. He also averaged two interceptions per season as well. These numbers are easily attainable in Cleveland.

8. Jabrill Peppers – New York Giants

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Jabrill Peppers was on his way to a breakout year in 2020 but ended up with nagging injuries that limited him a bit. Peppers was used incorrectly during his time in Cleveland, mostly as a deep safety. Luckily for him — and the Giants alike — the Giants have used him to his strengths.

Peppers has been used more as a playmaking box safety during his tenure in the big apple. He had 91 tackles, 8 for a loss, and 11 passes defended in 2020. I expect those numbers to all go up.

9. Vonn Bell – Cincinnati Bengals

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Vonn Bell is the second half of the Bengals’ extremely talented safety duo. Bell has been one of the best box safeties in the NFL since he came into the league. With how thin the Bengals’ linebacker group is, outside of Logan Wilson, Bell’s role should not change.

What Bell lacks in the turnover forcing numbers, he makes up for in tackles. During his first season in Cincinnati, he had 114 tackles and 3 forced fumbles, and I expect his output to be similar.

10. Harrison Smith – Minnesota Vikings

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I know Smith is older, but the man can still ball. In his age 31 season in 2020, he still racked up 89 tackles, 10 passes defended, and 5 interceptions. Smith has routinely been one of the most feared safeties in the NFL due to his ball-hawking, matched with his ability to play run defense.

Add the fact that the team replaced Anthony Harris with Xavier Woods, and Smith’s tackle total may spike a bit this year. He is still a top 10 talent, at least for redraft.

11. Justin Simmons – Denver Broncos
12. Kenny Moore II – Indianapolis Colts
13. Kevin Byard – Tennessee Titans
14. Malcolm Jenkins – New Orleans Saints
15. Landon Collins – Washington Football Team
16. Minkah Fitzpatrick – Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Adrian Amos – Green Bay Packers
18. Taylor Rapp – Los Angeles Rams
19. Marlon Humphrey – Baltimore Ravens
20. Kamren Curl – Washington Football Team

Summary

The redraft defensive back rankings are some of the hardest to pin down. Every year there are newcomers, new schemes, and position changes. It is just very volatile. These rankings are likely to be rearranged due to all of these variables, though leading into the season, this is how I would rank them.

You can read my top 25 linebacker rankings here, and my top 20 defensive line rankings here. Good luck this season everyone!!


Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @JoeyTheToothIDP, and check out all of my IDP, Devy, and Offensive work at idpguys.org. Stay up to date with the latest breaking news in fantasy football with The IDPGuys! Be sure to order our rookie draft magazines, which we load with fantastic player profiles and landing spot analysis. 

Joseph Haggan

I am the content manager for IDPGUYS and Co-Host of the IDP Lounge. Creator or the top IDP scoring/rankings tool. Aspiring prospect scout.
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